By Marti Rose Shanker
“We’re stressed out”- Twenty One Pilots (said every college student ever)
It’s only been one week into the Spring semester, and I’m already feeling overwhelmed when I look down at my Post-it noted planner stuffed with homework assignments, test dates, work commitments, volunteer community service events and the like. With each new semester comes a new opportunity to once again become a stressed-out chronic procrastinator. From one FIT student to another, here are 10 tips to find an oasis of relaxation in the desert of your rigorous academic and daily burdens.
- Breathe: Inhale through the nose, exhale from your mouth –you got this. Before you think about your upcoming tedious workday schedule, begin your day with more level-headed and grounded mindset by practicing some relaxation and meditation techniques. In the beginning, start with a small goal of setting a time one day a week to practice. Soon, with regular repetition you’ll be able to see its benefits to self awareness and cleansing your soul. This is one of the easiest and most critical tips, but is often the most overlooked way to combat stress. Simple, easy– done.
- Exercise: Having an active lifestyle can act as an effective stress reliever. Checking yourself into the FIT purple lit gym or signing up for miscellaneous workout classes will not only distract you from your daily worries, but will also help you be one step in the direction of spring break body goals. Thanks to global warming, you can even enjoy a breezy, Spring weather-like run on the Highline this Winter. After a good sweat and bonding time with your gym buddy, you’ll definitely feel more focused on finishing that paper due tomorrow.
- Explore FIT’s clubs: Manage your study time wisely, so you can enjoy pursuing your personal hobbies and interests. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and join a new club, whether it’s getting involved with our school magazine or joining one of our recreational sports teams. Did you know that we have an Ice Skating and Archery club? Doing something you love can actually replenish your energy levels and help you spend more time on the work you actually need to do.
- Create a music playlist: Listening to music can have such a profound effect on stress management. Depending on the beat, music can be a powerful tool to distraction, empowerment, or concentration. If you find you have difficulty focusing on your work, I would recommend listening to faster, upbeat music to help you feel more alert. On the other hand, if you need to relax and unwind, Spotify’s chill playlist with mellow tunes will become your best friend. Let the music carry you away no matter the mood.
- Download anti-distraction apps: In order to get down to business, you must be 100% focused. It’s so easy to get lost in the abyss of procrastination with never-ending sites and apps that sometimes you need some help. In order to fight back the constant digital distractions, some encouraging focus concentration apps include: Think, FocusWriter, Anti-Social, and Time Out. Actually, just download the FIT App… if you haven’t already downloaded it.
- Get a massage: During a tension-filled week with project and other assignment deadlines, stop by FIT’s Student Health Center for a free massage (college student perks). Use this opportunity to strengthen and motivate your academic fuel. Budget approved: check!
- Healthy eating: When the going gets tough, you probably find yourself having a difficult time getting away from that bag of pretzels or that tub of ice-cream. Don’t fret, anxiety- induced hunger can be stopped. Instead of reaching for that high calorie comfort food snack, make a trip to Trader Joes or the FIT cafeteria to stock up on some healthy staples (+ long shelf life) that can include: FIT’s 5 tiered row of Naked juice bottles in the vending machine and California roll sushi samples display.
- Stay organized: Manage your time wisely by investing in a desk calendar and writing down all your deadlines and tasks in advance. Do yourself a favor, and don’t cram everything the night before. Draw out a monthly schedule of your course syllabus to plan accordingly. In addition, for immediate self-gratification, make to do lists and cross off each one when completed. If this is a struggle itself go find the wifi (your #1 college companion) and go online to MYFIT to schedule a meeting with your academic advisor.
- Sleep: This is also one of the most critical, but overlooked tips to keep stress at bay. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times plays a vital role in protecting your mental health. After a long day of 3 hour classes or work, (or that all-nighter you just recently pulled), your body needs to recover from these events. Even though you’re living or attending school in the city that never sleeps, you still need yours to keep check with your mental, physical, and emotional health.
- F.N.O (Friends Night Out): Laughter is the best kind of medicine. Surround yourself with the people you love and take a break from all that hard work and dedication. Enjoy the company of good friends, good food, or good shopping, whether Brooklyn Bagel to Buffalo Exchange. After spending a night with your group of close-knit girlfriends or guy friends, you’ll feel more confident, optimistic, and carefree. 🙂